I can't give your kids away like I did the dogs:Advice needed

The scenario in a nutshell: my neighbors divorced last year and she moved to Oklahoma with the children-Sally who’s 12,Tom who’s 8 and John who’s 5.
Prior to the move, it was blatantly obvious that she adored the girl but had little time or interest for the boys. Sheesh, she asked me to watch the youngest one day when we first moved in and she didn’t know me from Adam-a case of “Hi total stranger, can my kid play at your house for 4 hours? In peering over the fence for the last month, I’ve managed to determined that you’re not a child molester etc.”
Anyway, the boys are back for a month and they’ve started to come over every evening. Last night they appeared when we were starting dinner.
“Ummm” goes Tom, “your food smells really good”
“Have y’all eaten yet?”, I ask as it going on 8:30.
“No, and all we’re having is leftovers.”
“Well, maybe y’all come over some night…”
"O.K. " and off they go to play around the house 'til l chase them home.

The problem? Well the “drop-in” guests are driving my husband batty. And although I like the little buggers, I’m not sure that I want them here every night. Plus, I don’t want to be a stinkin’ paranoid but I’m not sure about our liability if one of them falls out of a tree over here. However, these guys have gone through enough rejection recently and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I really need suggestions on how to handle this situation.

hey - that’s me! okay, different situation, but I often ended up eating at my neighbor’s house… or dropping in unexpectedly at the house of the elderly couple across the street.

as for how to handle it - well, how about scheduling it? Tell them that you are available for drop-ins from X-hour to Y-hour, on Z days. I’ll bet they are short on stability, too. Rules and boundaries will help. Set them, make sure the kids know they are welcome at those times, and enforce the rules.

BTW. I owe a lot to those families. No divorce, but definite favoritism (my step-dad towards his full son over the step-kids), and other issues specific to me (rather than sibs). When I was over there, I was real, I counted, I didn’t have to try to hide my secrets (because they wouldn’t ask), I felt normal… it was like a vacation in ‘normal’ land. Sanity-saving.

this is probably cruel, but i would put rakes in their hands and tell em to get busy! I would guess it won’t last long.

That used to happen at our house quite frequently. The neighbor kids (who’s home life wasn’t the greatest) would hang around. At dinner time my mother was just blunt - “we’re getting ready for dinner - you need to go home now.”. The kids’ feelings weren’t hurt. They seemed to figure it was okay to stay until told to go home.

StG